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Monday Feb 27, 2017

Spat over poultry goes to court

The early morning crowing of roosters and other noises from the neighbour's property were such torture that a Midrand woman has gone to court.

Anelle van Buuren turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to interdict her neighbours - Sadhaseelan and Sarashnee Govender from the noise from their menagerie of roosters, turkey and geese.

Describing it as noise pollution, she said she had tried everything to stop the noise which carried on all day.

"I approached them on numerous occasions, I approached the SPCA, the City of Johannesburg and the National Prosecuting Authority," she told the court.
But, she said in court papers, "all my attempts to resolve this have come to naught."

She said the Govenders had moved in next door to her in 2013 and set up a pen for poultry on the boundary wall with her property.
She said the pen was close to her bedroom which faced the wall.

She said her neighbours put a variety of poultry, including roosters, chickens, geese, peacocks and a turkey into the pen.
"Needless to say, they caused a lot of noise."

"The roosters crowed at dusk, throughout the night and into the early morning. The peacocks and hens called regularly, especially at dusk and dawn. The turkey gobbles throughout all hours day and night,” she said.

Van Buuren said the noise had a serious impact on her convenience and peace, as she was woken up during the night and early in the morning by the noise.
"I initially tolerated the noise, thinking the animals would settle down.

"After several months of continuous noise, interrupted sleep and increasing ill health I realised they were not going to settle down."

Van Buuren said she then spoke to the Govenders about the noise and they moved the pen slightly further away from the boundary wall.
But while this perked her up, the prospect of sleep was short-lived, and the noise continued.

She said she once again pleaded with her neighbours to remove the animals, but was told that they were entitled to keep them on the property. Van Buuren eventually contacted the Gauteng Health Department and officials paid the Govenders a visit.

She was told by the officials that the area was zoned agricultural and so the noise was reasonable under the circumstances.

However, the Govenders moved the pen further from the wall, and they got rid of some of the roosters.

This helped, Van Buuren said, as there was less crowing, but the noise continued.

She said she continued sending frustrated and pleading messages to her neighbours to make a plan.

Van Buuren said she could no longer handle the sleep deprivation. "Sleep deprivation was a form of torture used in World War II and Guantanamo Bay,” she said in her papers. This, she compared to her own situation, saying the noise was "torturing" her.

But Sarashnee Govender, denied the fowl created noise pollution. She said she had adhered to all calls to move the pen, yet her neighbour continued to complain.

She also accused her neighbour of referring to her and her family in derogatory terms and said she suspected the issue went further than her animals.

She said when she got rid of her chickens, Van Buuren turned her attention to the ducks, which were quieter. "At this point we have one rooster, one peacock and ducks. In total we have about 25 poultry.”

Govender pointed out the zoning of the land entitled her to keep her poultry.

She said what was annoying was that Van Buuren herself kept chickens and a rooster.

Judge Pierre Rabie did not make an order regarding the interdict at this stage, but simply ordered the Govenders to pay Van Buuren's legal costs of the application.

Saturday Star


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